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BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?

Ebbie 12 Dec 08 - 12:43 PM
Wesley S 12 Dec 08 - 12:46 PM
Little Hawk 12 Dec 08 - 12:47 PM
pdq 12 Dec 08 - 01:11 PM
Ebbie 12 Dec 08 - 01:31 PM
Amos 12 Dec 08 - 01:39 PM
pdq 12 Dec 08 - 01:41 PM
Rapparee 12 Dec 08 - 01:44 PM
Don Firth 12 Dec 08 - 01:51 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Dec 08 - 02:21 PM
PoppaGator 12 Dec 08 - 02:38 PM
bubblyrat 12 Dec 08 - 03:40 PM
Ebbie 12 Dec 08 - 04:01 PM
Don Firth 12 Dec 08 - 04:22 PM
Joe Offer 12 Dec 08 - 04:27 PM
Ebbie 12 Dec 08 - 04:39 PM
Big Mick 12 Dec 08 - 04:54 PM
Rapparee 12 Dec 08 - 05:00 PM
Ebbie 12 Dec 08 - 05:38 PM
Big Mick 12 Dec 08 - 05:50 PM
Rapparee 12 Dec 08 - 06:16 PM
Amos 12 Dec 08 - 06:21 PM
Rapparee 12 Dec 08 - 06:26 PM
Bobert 12 Dec 08 - 06:32 PM
JohnInKansas 12 Dec 08 - 09:56 PM
Riginslinger 12 Dec 08 - 10:08 PM
Ebbie 12 Dec 08 - 10:49 PM
Amos 12 Dec 08 - 11:13 PM
NOMADMan 12 Dec 08 - 11:23 PM
Amos 12 Dec 08 - 11:29 PM
NOMADMan 12 Dec 08 - 11:44 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 13 Dec 08 - 12:19 AM
Deckman 13 Dec 08 - 01:07 AM
Bobert 13 Dec 08 - 08:43 AM
Midchuck 13 Dec 08 - 08:57 AM
akenaton 13 Dec 08 - 11:00 AM
Ebbie 13 Dec 08 - 12:57 PM
Rapparee 13 Dec 08 - 01:07 PM
Amos 13 Dec 08 - 02:32 PM
Rapparee 13 Dec 08 - 03:05 PM
JohnInKansas 13 Dec 08 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 13 Dec 08 - 03:42 PM
Ebbie 13 Dec 08 - 04:28 PM
akenaton 13 Dec 08 - 04:48 PM
Ebbie 13 Dec 08 - 07:39 PM
Bobert 13 Dec 08 - 08:05 PM
Ebbie 13 Dec 08 - 08:57 PM
Bobert 13 Dec 08 - 09:01 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Dec 08 - 05:12 AM
Amos 17 Dec 08 - 12:29 PM
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Subject: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 12:43 PM

"A Wall Street powerbroker for nearly 50 years who built an influential firm has confessed to a massive fraud scheme that will cost investors at least $50 billion, federal authorities say."

When Will the Next Shoe Drop?


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Wesley S
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 12:46 PM

Well lets see....this is Friday?


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 12:47 PM

Amazing. Even Chongo would be rendered momentarily speechless by this.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: pdq
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 01:11 PM

People need to do a better job of defining terms.

          "Corruption, when applied to officers, trustees, etc.,
          signifies the inducing a violation of duty by means of
          pecuniary considerations. --Abbott.

          " Lack of integrity or honesty (especially susceptibility to
          bribery); use of a position of trust for dishonest gain."

What is described here is criminal behavior, lying, cheating, crime, etc. It is not classic corruption.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 01:31 PM

You make a point, pdq, but doesn't manipulating and defrauding the public (50 million dollars!) sound like " Lack of integrity or honesty (especially susceptibility to bribery); use of a position of trust for dishonest gain"?


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Amos
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 01:39 PM

Criminality is certainly corrupt behavior when it is done in an office of trust. I suggest this is a distinction without much of a difference.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: pdq
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 01:41 PM

Well, if we have specific terms that accurately describe events, shouldn't we use them?

Classic corruption means using the power of a public office (elected or appointed) for personal gain (other than salary, of course).

This guy is a crook, a liar and many other things.

William "Cold Cash" Jefferson is corrupt. So is the present governor of Illinois. This guy is probably a sociopath. Definitely a common crook.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 01:44 PM

Here's a copy (in PDF) of the SEC's complaint.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 01:51 PM

Doesn't it make you proud to be an Ameri—

Scratch that!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 02:21 PM

Oh please.   Corruption is not an issue that is limited to the "USA" as the misleading thread title indicates.    Just pick up some newspapers and see what passes for government around the globe and it makes us look rather mild.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 02:38 PM

I beg to differ with both words in the title "USA Corruption":

As has already been mentioned, I generally assume that we're talking about officeholders and/or politicians when I see the word "corruption."

Also, in regard to identifying the problem as "American": A given crooked big-businessman (like this specimen) may or may not be a resident of the US, but his crimes are truly multinational, as are the corporations that too often provide cover, and employment, to this kind of sociopath.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 03:40 PM

So what's new ?? Try reading "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" for a salutary lesson in US Government corruption.Please.....


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 04:01 PM

Ha, I say. I titled it 'USA Corruption', because this was a US citizen and it is corrupt, but the leading premise, to my mind, is wondering just when and where the next shoe will drop. There seems to be a cleaning house effect on.

Surprises can be good, they can also be devastating.

So, I agree, the US is not alone in the world in harboring corruption and venality of all kinds, but that makes nothing any better.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 04:22 PM

As an American citizen, I can't do a hell of a lot about corruption in Indonesia or Zaire. I have a better chance of possibly doing something about it here.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 04:27 PM

Well, the Democrats have had their share of corruption (especially, in recent years, among Democratic governors in Illinois), but I think Nixon and Reagan deified corporate leadership and declared them infallible, and this led to the last generation of corporate corruption. First it was the Savings and Loan scandals of the 1980's, then the corrupt accounting firms of the late 1990's and early 2000's, and now the banks and stockbrokers.
How deep will all this corruption take us? It sure has affected the stability of my retirement savings.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 04:39 PM

I know, Joe. A woman living in my building who is a night auditor for a local hotel told me that her retirement fund has lost$7,500 (this was a month or more ago) and a friend told me that a friend of his had lost more than $100,000 from his.

I know, these losses are only on paper but the subtraction is real.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 04:54 PM

Ebbie, I don't believe in calling these "paper losses". These losses were real money that folks earned by investing in financial products that they had a reasonable expectation that they were being managed in a prudent way. That is the essence of fiduciary responsibility. In my world, had I mismanaged the assets of a pension fund in the way that these robber barons have mismanaged the funds of their investors, as a union official I the right wing would have had me in jail. These losses are very much a real money loss in that folks were planning their lives on them. Even those that moved them into so-called "safe investment" vehicles are getting wiped.

In some countries, betrayal of the trust placed in you on this scale would result in a death sentence. I am not looking for that, but a large number of folks need to never see the light of day again for what they have done to working families in this country.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 05:00 PM

I agree, Mick. What a financial company calls a "paper loss" can easily mean going without a meal or medicine to a retiree.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 05:38 PM

OK. I agree. I used the term only to indicate that in a superficial sense the investor had not dug the money out of his or her own pocket, that they often are employers' matching funds. But you are right- the accrued monies were a contractual right.

During the dot com bust my own retirement fund lost over $5,000 before I pulled it out.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 05:50 PM

Yeah, my friend, I knew what you meant. I just hear the more callous folks toss that term around almost in a casual way. What really bugs me is that these thieves used these investment programs as an excuse to dismantle the pension system which provided a stable source of retirement income and led to stable employees, as well as encouraging turnover at a decent retirement age, so new folks could come into the job market. Now we are sitting in the position of having a ton of folks who relied on these investment vehicles instead of insisting on defined pension plans, with no fall back other than a Social Security system which is struggling already.

Last night you witnessed the meltdown of a needed program, simply because the Southern Republicans want to put a knife in the neck of the unions. It is more of the right passing blame down to the workers instead of upward where it belongs. That is corruption on a grand scale, IMO.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 06:16 PM

I have a question to which I haven't been able to get a good answer.

Okay...I'm a business owner. I have ten employees (or ten thousand, doesn't matter). I have to pay those employees a certain amount (including benefits), an amount which is well known to me. Now, I always thought that I would figure that amount and others (electricity, materials, etc.) into what I charged for my product, so that the price = my costs + a reasonable profit.

Now I hear that without credit employers can't pay their employees. When did it happen that a well-run business borrowed money for wages, salaries, benefits, etc. instead of having that money on hand and in the bank?

I'm talking about normal operations here, not after a disaster or a start-up company or temporary cash flow problems or something.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Amos
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 06:21 PM

OFten, short-term credit is needed to balance cash-flow over the lag between orders and receivables which sometimes don't show up as income for 30, 60, 90 or even 120 days.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 06:26 PM

Which is understandable and necessary. But credit shouldn't be used for that on a regular basis, should it?


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 06:32 PM

I'm with you, Rap... It used to be that companies did that... Then, rather than take a loan for a new project, they dipped into escrow accounts that were there for pensions of their employees... Next thing ya know that found that they could cry poor-mouthand the unions would renegotiate... The UAW has given and given for the last 30 years... It even had to agree to take over the health care of it's own workers... This would have been unheard of when my dad worked for Ford... Ford kept it promises back then and stashed away the cash it needed to do that...

That bisiness model started to crack when Ronald Reagan decided in the early 80's that the it wasn't the governemnt's responsibility to see to it that corporation kept their promises and thus... the new n' improved (my butt) business model where businesses went unregulated... That is what we have today and that's why it's going to be very difficult to fix it... This crap didn't begin in 2000... It began in 1982...

Blaming workers for it is like blaming the victim of a crime... We've had 30 years of anti-union garbage thrown at US by Boss Hog while B.H. was driving his business and the economy into the dirt... Time to put the blame where it is due...

I agree, Rap, that if the old model had never been scrapped that we would be in a much better place and that corporations wouldn't have to borrow to meet payroll... It's kinda like the emperor has been standing naked in front of US for 30 years and no one has been willing to admit it...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 09:56 PM

I'm not sure why, but there seems a reluctance to name the person whose actions apparently provoked the start of this thread.

While the charges filed do give a name, it's not with much context.

For the record, this guy is:

"The former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market who remains a member of Nasdaq OMX Group Inc's nominating committee, is best known as the founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, the closely-held market-making firm he founded in 1960."

See: Former Nasdaq chairman arrested for fraud

It starts at the top ...

John


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 10:08 PM

The obvious way to fix all of this is to reconstruct the windows on Wall Street buildings so they can be opened from the indside.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 10:49 PM

lol


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Amos
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 11:13 PM

Rapaire:

"Shouldn't", no; wisdom on the part of management--for example, if either of our wives were in charge--would dictate that when the cash DID come in, it would be set aside so the company could gradually become able to tide itself over the gaps without paying interest to a bank.

But the lust for gratification, especially in the male of the species, is a strange beast with many heads.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: NOMADMan
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 11:23 PM

Use of short-term credit is and has been common, ordinary business practice for a long time. Nothing extraordinary about it. If we are now deciding that it "shouldn't" be done that way, it would come as great, shocking news to the thousands of folks who have operated successful businesses under that model for the last several centuries.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Amos
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 11:29 PM

"SEATTLE, Dec 12, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro (HBSS) announced it is investigating the investments and perpetrators of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme on behalf of investors. HBSS is investigating the potential for a lawsuit on behalf of investors after news broke the long-standing investor was arrested and allegedly charged with billions of dollars in securities fraud, and their general partner informed the investors that their investments were with Madoff.
If you or your group invested with Bernard Madoff, Bernard Madoff Investment Securities, or BMIS, please contact plaintiff's counsel at madoff@hbsslaw.com or (510) 725-3000.
Bernard Madoff -- by his own admission -- as the head of a hedge fund off Wall Street, was arrested yesterday for financial fraud. Madoff, 70, who has operated his own multi-billion dollar investment company since 1960, apparently remarked to his staff earlier in the week that the hedge fund run by his company was a "giant Ponzi scheme.""


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: NOMADMan
Date: 12 Dec 08 - 11:44 PM

Link to B. Madoff thread


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 12:19 AM

Well, be it far from me, that I never alluded to the biggest problem we had was corruption in politics.......
Maybe some of 'us' will finally come to our senses...this whole thing(even the 'election' and the process) was such a crock..AS I HAVE PREVIOUSLY ARGUED ON A NUMBER OF POSTS, was so polluted with it..and the pom-pom bearers, so deluded about it, I was appalled!
Does anyone out there, in 'Mudcat-land' see any similarity with George 'W' and his 'corporate bailouts', as he is about to leave office, and Billy Clinton with his 'Presidential Pardons, even just a little suspicious?.....not even a teenie-weenie bit???
Doesn't it make anyone out there wonder that Oblabbo's cabinet, and Bush's policies bear just a itsy-bitsy likeness, as to agenda continuation??,,prehaps, just a little bit????
Yes, boys and girls,...you got fooled again...oh yeah, what was it I said during the 'election'...ummm...something about a major devaluation of the dollar, AFTER the election, no matter who won?????
Watch it happen, and sit there in shock,and when you discover that the government owns all the big corporations, and policies, and you, and your neighbors, let's all break out in a chorus of Kumbayah, and 'feel good' all over again....yippee!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Deckman
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 01:07 AM

IRONY ... I'm reading "London" for the first time. I'm close to the end of the book, and where I'm at is dealing with the financial crisis of 1825. I swear ... it reads almost word for word for what's happening today. Very weird.

Beyond my reaction of disgust of what has been happening, what's truly scary to me is that it appears that NO ONE really knows what to do. When things get this messed up, you gotta' wonder if anyone can straighten it out. (I'm going fishing)! Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Bobert
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 08:43 AM

In 1982, GfS, the upper 5% controlled 56% of the wealth... Today the upper 5% control 82%... That's about all you need to know...

Now, yeah, Obama could have packed his cabinet with radicals... Maybe Bill Ayers, and Luis Farakan... Maybe Norm Chonskey ...

Yeah, that would have made all the old graying left winged radicals (myself included) happy on one level but he chose not to instead trying to at the very least make his cabinet acceptable to enough people to perhaps (and that is not a given) that he can be like a Trojan Horse and change, yes change, enought things for alot of problems to be addressed...

I donno, but I'n not yet ready to stand on the corner with a "Repent Now, The World I s Doomed" sign but if you are then...

...have at it... I might join you in a couple years...

B;~)


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Midchuck
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 08:57 AM

Just once, I'd like to see a Democrat complaining about corrupt Democratic politicians, or a Republican complaining about corrupt Republican politicians.

The continuous cries of "Yes, but look how much worse stuff the other guys did" serve only to reinforce my feeling of "A plague on both your houses." Probably that of a lot of others. Which, I think, is a major reason more people in the US don't vote.

Peter


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: akenaton
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 11:00 AM

Agreed!


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 12:57 PM

sheesh Don't you see that we are complaining about a Democrat thigh-deep in corruption? The point, as I see it, is the corruption, not the party.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 01:07 PM

Oh fer...I'm (mostly) Democratic and I think that dealings like that of Roddy B. and Rezko and others is identical to what I flush down the toilet.

I know good, honest Republicans and I know good, honest Democrats. Hell's bells, my very own brother is a registered Republican and HE just told his supporters that he's had two terms on the City Council and because he believes in term limits he won't run again for the position (although he IS thinking about running for Mayor). And yes, I trust him as Governor of Illinois or as Emperor of the World -- he's honest.

Yeah, there are those I'd trust. But I also always count my change.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Amos
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 02:32 PM

Yes, count your change, with numbers from Within. That's where your change comes from, after all...

It is a truism, perhaps penned by Lord Berkshire, that power corrupts. The party has little to do with it, except to the degree they build it into a culture. Corruption is an individual refusal to think ethically.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 03:05 PM

What is this "ethics" of which you speak, Amos? Is that something new?


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 03:20 PM

An old saw says to decide whether something is ethical, you ask "would I tell my partner?".

To decide whether something is moral, you ask "would I tell my wife."

One might reflect on how many (recent, especially) cases have involved partners acting together, and/or husband and wife the same?

To the point of the original thread title, Hedge fund gave warning signs, experts say is a longish article about how people might have seen problems coming in the Madoff case, and in the last paragraph something of a warning about "how much more."

Speculate for yourselves ...

John


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 03:42 PM

Personally, I would rather trust a used car salesman, than any of our present political hacks!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 04:28 PM

You know, GfS, there is something revealing in the rhetoric that several here have indulged in.

It reminds me of when a plumber told my boss that everybody has herpes. I told my boss that all that was proved is that the plumber had herpes.

What I'm trying to say is that when we believe and trust nobody, all that we prove is that we cannot be believed and trusted. Verstehen sie mir?


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: akenaton
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 04:48 PM

GfS....Didn't say he/she believed "nobody", just that in common with most sensible people, he/she didn't believe politicians!

After the recent revelations, I am at a loss to understand why you continue to defend the system?....Is it still sheer mindless partisan politics?


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 07:39 PM

Unless you prefer anarchy, Ake, in any political system you are going to have politicians. That is a given, it cannot be avoided. And until the day that you, and you, and you and you are willing to step forward into the political arena we will have unknown qualities out there representing the rest of us.

And then, I suspect that we'd find that you are as corruptible as anyone else.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Bobert
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 08:05 PM

I'd put my faith in Obama and his folks over...

...Bush and his...

I've seen change in my life... I saw a grumpy guy from Texas make it into the White House and shake things up... No, not Bush but LBJ...

I saw a peanut farmer from Georgia come to Washington, buck the establishment which probably cost him re-election, who put the concept of "human right" on the internataional map...

Things happen when they are 'sposed to... People come to the forfront whan it's time...

I believe (heck, I have to, ain't too many more chances in my life) that the US is about to undergo yet another major change for good...

The stuff that we have seen over the last 30 years has not worked too well... We have become terrorists... We have become torturers... We have become a Me-and-My society and it hasn't produced a better life for US... It has created a deterioration of values, of life quality and our collective spirit...

Five years ago the average American would watch a TV show about rich people... Today??? I don't think so... Being rich isn't the "in thing"... That's a good grist step...

Corruption, be it Halliburton or an Illinois Governor, ain't the "in thing" either...

People have circled the wagons and want more transparancy, more fairness and more honesty and I kinda think of this as stars aligning in that we have the right president and right culture...

I think that in 4 years we won't be talking about corruption...

(But, Boberdz... Corruption has always been with US...)

Granted... It has... And it will always be with US... I think the difference is that we will not being saying "Everyone does it" in 4 years... That is a big difference...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 08:57 PM

Bless you, Beaubear.


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Bobert
Date: 13 Dec 08 - 09:01 PM

I realy feel it, Eb... I really do... Corruption is no longer acceptable... Stupid policy is not longer acceptable...

The US has moved on... Really, it has... You'll see...

Beaubear


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 05:12 AM

Is this Madoff any relation to Steven Madoff of the Motion Picture Export Association of America - who used to oppose "reasonable remuneration" provisions for copyright infringment damages becase "reasonable remuneration" might not be as much as "the market price plus legal costs" so was insufficient?


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Subject: RE: BS: USA Corruption - How Much More?
From: Amos
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 12:29 PM

From Paul Krugman at the NY Timees, an excerpt:

"...It's depressing because China in many ways feels more stable than America today, with a clearer strategy for working through this crisis. And while the two countries are looking more alike, they appear to be on very different historical trajectories. China went crazy in the 1970s, with its Cultural Revolution, and only after the death of Mao and the rise of Deng Xiaoping has it managed to right itself, gradually moving to a market economy.

But while capitalism has saved China, the end of communism seems to have slightly unhinged America. We lost our two biggest ideological competitors — Beijing and Moscow. Everyone needs a competitor. It keeps you disciplined. But once American capitalism no longer had to worry about communism, it seems to have gone crazy. Investment banks and hedge funds were leveraging themselves at crazy levels, paying themselves crazy salaries and, most of all, inventing financial instruments that completely disconnected the ultimate lenders from the original borrowers, and left no one accountable. "The collapse of communism pushed China to the center and [America] to the extreme," said Ben Simpfendorfer, chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland.

The Madoff affair is the cherry on top of a national breakdown in financial propriety, regulations and common sense. Which is why we don't just need a financial bailout; we need an ethical bailout. We need to re-establish the core balance between our markets, ethics and regulations. I don't want to kill the animal spirits that necessarily drive capitalism — but I don't want to be eaten by them either. "


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Mudcat time: 17 February 4:19 AM EST

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